Mathematician suggests firing deep-ocean sound waves could stop tsunamis

deep ocean sound wave tsunami 17580401 l
Kevin Carden/123RF
Tsunamis, also known as seismic sea waves, can be devastating. In 2004, a 100-foot wave in the Indian Ocean resulted in at least 230,000 deaths in one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. In 2011, another tsunami led to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster when waves exceeded the height of the plant’s sea wall.

It is therefore a massive understatement to say that figuring out a way to stop tsunamis in their tracks would be a good thing.

With that in mind, a mathematician at the U.K.’s Cardiff University has just presented a new idea he thinks could help: halting tsunamis by using deep-ocean sound waves to rob them of their amplitude and height.

“The classical water wave theory ignores the effects of water compressibility on the grounds that acoustic (sound) and surface (gravity) waves are virtually decoupled,” Dr. Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics, told Digital Trends. “This is justified for many applications as acoustic and surface water waves have very different temporal and spatial timescales that each can be treated as if the other did not exist.”

“[To the] contrary,” Kadri goes on, “acoustic-gravity wave theory concerns both compressibility and gravity effects and provides a general solution for these two types of waves. The most exciting part is that despite the differences, providing the right conditions, these waves will resonate with each other and exchange energy.”

Such acoustic-gravity waves could be repeatedly fired until a tsunami was dispersed.

It should be noted that, at present, this is still just a smart theory, rather than anything which has been tested in the real world. The next step would involve a proof-of-concept experiment, which could be carried out on a small scale at a research facility with a wave tank. For that to happen, Dr. Kadri said that he will need to “collaborate with experimentalists that have the proper facility and equipment.”

Only after that is done would serious thought need to be put into building a machine large enough to fire off suitably large acoustic-gravity waves.

“If it is proved theoretically, then the rest is an engineering challenge and a policy maker’s call,” Kadri continued. “There is a lot to be accomplished prior to any practical move. In particular, there is a need to study the environmental effects, along with a more realistic interaction scenarios.”

Emerging Tech

Scientists discover unexpected underwater volcano off the coast of Africa

Geologists first noticed something unusual in the Indian Ocean in November last year, when they detected a massive seismic event. Now further research has revealed that the source of the seismic activity is an enormous underwater volcano.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (May 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use an X-ray laser to create the loudest possible underwater sound

Researchers from Stanford University and the Department of Energy have produced the loudest sound possible to make under water. Here's how they managed to create it — and why they did it.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Huawei updates, Starlink launch, and Pac-Man’s birthday

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing Huawei saga, Amazon’s social games for workers, Ford's partnership with a robotics company, the Starlink satellite launch, Pac-Man’s birthday, and more.
Emerging Tech

Las Vegas officials bet big on Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has just been awarded a $48.6 million contract by Las Vegas to build a high-speed transportation system beneath the city’s enormous convention center, and it could be ready by early 2020.
Emerging Tech

I mainlined a bag of liquid vitamins — for science

Healthy people are signing up for treatments that are typically saved for patients stuck in hospital beds. Known as nutrient IV therapy, the treatment entails pumping vitamins, minerals, and fluids directly into the bloodstream, bypassing…
Emerging Tech

Airbus shows off the futuristic interior of its autonomous flying taxi

Airbus has given us the first look inside its single-seat flying taxi. The absence of controls in the Vahana electric aircraft is a reflection of its autonomous capabilities, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Emerging Tech

Future smart clothes promise to keep you the perfect temperature at all times

Regulating your body temperature can sometimes be tough. Engineers from UC San Diego have developed heating and cooling wearable tech which could be embedded into future smart clothing.
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 aborts marker drop mission

The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft's mission to drop a reflective marker on the surface of asteroid Ryugu has been aborted. The Japanese team was considering a second touchdown on the asteroid to collect more materials, but this now seems unlikely.
Emerging Tech

Whose name should we etch on the Mars 2020 rover? NASA wants a vote

Dream of making it to Mars? NASA has opened up a new public outreach program to let people send their names to the Red Planet, as an engraving on a silicon chip launched with the Mars 2020 rover.
Emerging Tech

Watch live as SpaceX tries, for the third time, to launch 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX is having another go at launching the first 60 satellites for its ultra-ambitious Starlink internet constellation. Here's how you can tune in live to watch it all go down today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX joins internet-from-space race with launch of 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying its first batch of Starlink satellites for its ambitious internet-from-space project. The payload, SpaceX's heaviest to date, successfully deployed an hour after liftoff.
Emerging Tech

What would it take to build a Matrix-level simulation of reality?

What would it take, technologically speaking, to build a real version of the Matrix? We definitely don't have the technical abilities to do that now, but we're rapidly approaching the point that we will. In this article, MIT computer…